Dear well wishers,
I was dismissed by my company for computer software error that was escalated as a loss caused to the company because the tax amount was left out of the monthly returns filed for June 2017. I was forced to resign and i tendered it and withdrew it the next day. The company left with no alternate, placed me under illegal suspension and then ordered a domestic enquiry based on the SCN issued. The enquiry officer did not conduct the enquiry as per principles of natural justice, but hurriedly closed it holding me responsible for the loss. In fact the company should have preferred a claim before the tax department for claim of this amount missed out in the returns due to a software error, but chose to terminate me after the enquiry officer submitted a perverse report. In fact out of the 4 acts of misconduct (none of them fall in the list of misconduct as listed out by the Hon'ble SC) not even 1 act of misconduct was proved. Thereafter the company issued a second SCN and i gave the same explanation and was dismissed. I took it forward by filing a complaint at the jurisdictional labour office, who summoned a conciliatory meet for 3 months and finally proposed to the co to either re-instate or pay compensation in lieu of reinstatement. The company did not agree to both and based on the endorsement, i filed an ID in the labour court. The II party never appeared in the court nor filed counter statement for more than 120 days and when the court moved the matter to I party evidence, the II party filed IAs as objection. The IAs were dismissed one after the other and now the II party has filed an IA claiming that i am only a manager and not a workman as i am drawing gross salary of 1.05 lacs and also given a PoA to represent before the tax department. Also now the II party claims that i was in charge of their entire manufacturing unit, including filing tax declarations. At this advanced stage, the II party now plans to get this case dismissed at the ID court level, so that their illegal dismissal does not come on record. I have got the II party's advocates out of court for not following Sec. 36(4).
Could anyone please advise the next stage of action from my end. I was only doing the work of clerk like entering tax data in software, filing these tax documents in files in chronological order as per data entry, generating month end report and filing monthly reports. All this was as directed by by higher ups and under their close supervision.

From India, Bangalore

Dear Natraj,

The question whether a dismissed employee was a ' workman ' as defined u/s 2(s) of the ID Act, 1947 to seek relief under the same is also an industrial dispute to be adjudicated by the Labor Court constituted under the Act. It's the employer's legal right to raise such a question of law that has to be decided based on facts like the nature of predominent aspects of duties attached to the job of the employee, powers to control and supervise the subordinates under him, entering into contract with the world at large on behalf of the employer and the like and not the salary or the designation is the determinent.

Therefore, don't be disheartened. Try to prove the fact that basically and predominantly you were only a workman under the ID Act with the active assistance of your advocate. Your advocate has to effectively cross-examine the Management witnesses in this regard and advance arguments on your side citing case laws which are abundant in the internet.

From India, Salem
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